Tag Archives | Evolution


Mug shots from DNA possible, say scientists

DNA can already tell us the sex and ancestry of unknown individuals, but now an international team of researchers is beginning to connect genetics with facial features, degrees of femininity, and racial characteristics. Writing about their work in PLOS Genetics, the researchers detail how by jointly modeling sex, genomic ancestry, and genotype, the independent effects […]

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Camouflage or bright colors? What’s better to live long and prosper?

In nature, bright colors are signals that scream, “Don’t eat me!” But how did prey species evolve these characteristics? Now, thanks to a computer simulation of evolving populations of organisms, evolutionary scientists think they know the answer. In the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at Michigan State University reveal that these color-coded communications evolve over time […]

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Modern crops’ lack of adaptability threatens global food chains

Using the largest dated evolutionary tree of flowering plants ever assembled, new research suggests how plants developed traits to withstand low temperatures, with implications that human-induced climate change may pose a bigger threat than initially thought to global agriculture. The new study appearing in the journalNature, shows many angiosperms (flowering plants) evolved mechanisms to cope […]

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Gene expression altered with meditation

Previous studies have shown that meditation can trigger changes in the brain and body but the biological mechanism for these effects has remained a mystery. Now, in the journalPsychoneuroendocrinology, researchers are reporting the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of meditation. The new work, by researchers in the U.S., […]

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Mechanical gears seen in nature for the first time

Gear mechanisms, previously thought to only exist in man-made machines, have also evolved in nature, according to scientists who say they have made the first observation of mechanical gearing in a biological structure. The gears were identified in the hind-leg of juvenile Issus leafhoppers and they bear a remarkable resemblance to the cogs found on […]

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Revealing cancer’s deep evolutionary roots

A new way to look at cancer – by tracing its evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellular life more than a billion years ago – could transform cancer therapy by linking cancer’s beginnings to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos. The new work, by researchers from Arizona State University and […]

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Torturous terrain behind human bipedal evolution?

Archaeologists at the University of York say challenging terrain could have been the driving force behind our earliest ancestors leaving the trees and becoming upright bipeds. Writing in the journal Antiquity, the researchers suggest that our upright gait may have its origins in the rugged landscape of East and South Africa which was shaped during […]

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Evolution making women taller, thinner

In many places around the world, people are living longer and are having fewer children. But a new study in the journal Current Biology reports that those aren’t the only changes happening. The research shows that modern-day selection may lead women to be taller and slimmer, too. “This is a reminder that declines in mortality […]

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Rapid evolution tied to environmental change

Environmental change can drive hard-wired evolutionary changes in animal species in a matter of generations, report ecologists from Ume� University and the University of Leeds. The new findings, which overturn the common assumption that evolution occurs very slowly, could shed light in areas such as the management of fisheries, where human actions can result in […]

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Epigenetics might explain evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality

Epigenetics – how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks – appears to be a critical and overlooked factor in the long-standing evolutionary puzzle of why homosexuality occurs. That’s according to a study published in The Quarterly Review of Biology that provides evidence that sex-specific epi-marks can lead to homosexuality when they are […]

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